The Boss


A Remembrance of Terry McGinnis

By Jeff Clawson — I was reminded about something last night, in a phone conversation I had with Bruce Bilodeau. He was telling me a story about a race he was announcing a few years back, the State Championship criterium at RMR and the last time I can remember my old friend Terry McGinnis racing bikes.

Terry McGinnis at the front on the Rocky Mountain Raceway Oval in 2004. Photo by Dave Iltis
Terry McGinnis at the front on the Rocky Mountain Raceway Oval in 2004. Photo by Dave Iltis

He was pretty sick and must have been weak given the fact his cancer had progressed and he was getting chemo.

Bruce asked Terry after the Pro-1-2 race how he had managed to finish top-10 in his weakened condition. Terry’s face was white and had that 100-yard stare we’ve all seen many times, having gone deep into the pain cave. Terry just laughed and said “I just know how to race a bike …”

He knew that old RMR crit like the back of his hand. Where to be, how to bluff, and what moves to follow. Most importantly, he knew how to suffer.

We got talking about the last year he was directing the Tour of Utah, when he was just weeks away from death. He worked hard on every aspect of the Tour, was everywhere he needed to be, and somehow manufactured the energy to do the job. Never complained. Never let his body tell him what he could or couldn’t do.

I saw his inner strength many times. The times I visited him just before he died are good memories, however hard, when he was still giving me lessons about life — and later, how to die with dignity.

I was racing a wet and cold cyclocross race the day he passed. I was thinking about Terry at the start line, freezing rain coming down with the thought of wanting to quit before the race started. I always thought of Terry when I was suffering, he would be so pissed if I quit.

After that miserable race, I was in a calm mindset to receive the bad news. And so the end of an era, but how would I make it without his advice and guidance? What a loss.

All these years later, the old coach continues to whisper lessons in my ear. I know I will never forget the Boss.

Terry McGinnis was an accomplished bicycle racer, coach, father, and husband. He is missed by his circle of family and friends who still think of him often. He passed away on October 24, 2009 from cancer, and he would be 57 today—probably racing masters races.

[Editor’s note: Terry McGinnis was born on 6/8/1963. This remembrance originally appeared in the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Cycling West magazine, but we wanted to recognize and celebrate T-Mac’s 57th birthday by reposting the article today.]


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